Pia has lived her life in a secret compound deep within the Amazon rainforest. She has never ventreview posted on Emily's Reading Room August 28, 2012
Pia has lived her life in a secret compound deep within the Amazon rainforest. She has never ventured outside the electric fence that keeps her protected from the dangers of the jungle outside. She is the culmination of decades of work that has resulted in an immortal being. Her skin is tough as steel, and her intellect is sharp. In a word, perfection. When she discovers a hole in the fence and ventures outside, she is faced with the reality of what the outside is really like, and also the dangers that lie within the fence.
The first 15 pages or so of this book are phenomenal. I was definitely drawn into the action and excited about where the story would take me. Ultimately though, the fabulous premise boiled down to a vehicle for a insta-love romance.
About the time of the first meeting between Pia and Eio, I started to slip off the hook. Their initial meeting was awkward, with very clunky and juvenile dialogue that didn't seem to fit two teens talking together (both around 17 years old). Instead, it felt like much younger children meeting together and talking. Their relationship, of course, gets off to a fast start, with only a few short meetings being enough to completely throw off Pia's determination to become a member of the head team researching Immortis. Pia displays some moments of curiosity, but it seemed implausible that someone as intelligent and scientific as herself wouldn't question more of the world that surrounds her. She takes an awful lot for granted about her existence which just isn't consistent with the way scientists operate.
But, my major gripe with this novel is the age-old battle between scientists and natives. The scientists are cold and calculating, bent only on results and crafting an immortal race. They will do anything to preserve the project. The natives are peaceful people who only want to live in their village unharmed by the scientists that live nearby. It isn't a new concept, and frankly one that I have grown weary of.
The concept was incredible. I loved the Amazon rainforest setting, a few of the supporting characters that had great depth. And much of the writing was smooth and enjoyable to read. I just wish I would have had more depth to the villains and the heroes....more
Ever since Tom Raines' dad's luck ran out, they've been drifting from casino to casino. Tom earns money where he can byReview Published July 10, 2012.
Ever since Tom Raines' dad's luck ran out, they've been drifting from casino to casino. Tom earns money where he can by winning at the VR games. His mom has been long gone, the girlfriend of an executive in a multi-national corporation. And that's when things change. Tom is offered a spot at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy that trains the best to fight in World War Three. Though the promise of a constant home and meals is tempting at first, Tom discovers that he may be giving up more than he bargained for.
The best way that I can describe this book is an interesting mix of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It's definitely science fiction and is heavy on the computer and technology references. Which, is outstanding.
I was pretty immediately captivated by the idea of a war being fought in interplanetary space, but without the loss of human lives. Each side is fighting for control of resources out in space, and recruits children to fight using VR (virtual reality) machines. When Tom is recruited to join the academy, he undergoes a medical procedure to have a chip implanted in his head. He, and the other recruits, download their homework and have it processed into their brain through the help of the chip. It allows them to learn several different language and almost instantly understand math and science. But, it also makes their brains and their bodies vulnerable to cyber attacks and external control.
While I was definitely hooked on the concept, and even most of the plot, I found myself not sold on the characters. I think this is where the book definitely diverged from the likes of Ender's Game for me. Tom was a character I wanted to sympathize with, but one I definitely wanted to keep at arm's length. I'm not sure if it's the fact that he's a male narrator (I haven't really had trouble with that in the past, but it's possible), or exactly what it was. But, whatever it was, it caused the book to drag a little in parts when I felt like the plot needed to move on just a little bit. And there was a part at the very end (of which I won't disclose because it's a total spoiler), that made me completely detach myself from Tom. But, don't despair too much, Tom's friends at The Pentagonal Academy are well worth the read.
Fans of techno sci-fi thrillers are going to eat this book up. It's chock full of great technology, war (in a virtual realm), and twisted loyalties and politics. Give this to your gamer friend that claims they don't read. Maybe they'll change their mind. Oh, and the movie rights have already been sold to FOX. ...more
When I got my first glimpse of Scarlet last fall, there were a few people I knew that had to get their hands on this book. Angie, being one of them. AWhen I got my first glimpse of Scarlet last fall, there were a few people I knew that had to get their hands on this book. Angie, being one of them. And, of course, myself. One of my favorite retellings of the Robin Hood story is Outlaws of Sherwood, which also happens to be the only book of Robin McKinley's that I've actually finished and enjoyed.
Scarlet follows much of the same story as every Robin Hood retelling, except this time Scarlet is not a head-strong boy, but a rather extra-ordinary young woman trying to escape her past. She's a loyal member of Robin Hood's band, though she certainly doesn't let anyone else in on that fact. Deadly with knives, and frankly, with her tongue as well; Scarlet can get in and out of anywhere without being detected.
I quickly became endeared to Scarlet. The girl has a history, to be sure, but she is never a victim. There were times that I wasn't pleased with her aloof nature towards Robin, particularly when she seemed to deliberately twist his words into something that wasn't intended. Of course, what woman hasn't done that from time to time? But, Scarlet does allow enough emotion to shine through that while she shows everyone a prickly exterior, you know that she really is just trying to get by.
The other members of the band are equally lovable. Much is there, but in this version, he's missing a hand after having it cut off for thieving. Robin is a strong leader, though Scarlet sometimes proves to be a little more than he can handle. I think the only character that I didn't love was John. He was a little too, shall we say, forward, than I liked.
If you like Robin Hood retellings as much as I do, then this one warrants an immediate trip to the bookstore. It's a fun, fast-paced read, and is not part of a series (yay!). And, at the end of the book there is a little background on the Robin Hood legend and a few other books are mentioned that are now on my to-read list. And, as a bonus, while there is a little violence, this book is squeaky clean!...more
Nikki has returned from the Underworld. Spending 100 years in a state of complete unfeeling and despair, she has returned to her family and friends foNikki has returned from the Underworld. Spending 100 years in a state of complete unfeeling and despair, she has returned to her family and friends for 6 months until she must return, this time forever. Nikki's time is running out, and she wants to use this time to reconnect with her boyfriend, family and friends (frankly, in that order). But, Cole, the conniving immortal that enticed her to Everneath in the first place, wants Nikki to return with him to rule the Underworld as his queen.
Everneath, as you guess from the description, is a Persephone/Hades retelling. Or is it an Orpheus and Eurydice retelling? Well, it's actually a pleasant mixture of both that makes the entire book very much it's own mythology. I have to admit; however, that though I liked a lot of the intersecting of myths, I was confused at times how the whole thing fit together. I was able to piece it together after rereading a few passages, and I think most of it cleared up for me by the end.
Then there is the Nikki/Jack/Cole love triangle. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I didn't see evidence of a love triangle. From the moment that Nikki returns from Everneath, she isn't interested in a relationship with Cole. In fact, she is willing to endure endless agony in the Tunnels to avoid spending another moment with Cole. So, in my mind, Cole was never a viable option for Nikki. In fact, their "relationship" reminds me a lot of the Evie/Reth stuff. Cole filled a role for Nikki that after her 100 years in the underworld, she realized that she didn't need. Like Evie, Nikki was suffering (though from different circumstances), and Cole seemed like the easy way out at the time. So, let's just say that I'm so glad that this book wasn't set BEFORE Nikki went to the Underworld, because I think that we wouldn't have gotten along nearly as well.
As far as Nikki and Jack went, I really liked the slow burn of their relationship. Then again, those tend to be my favorite. Nikki only has 6 months left, but she doesn't want to ruin those 6 months that she does have left by rushing into something. And I have to respect that. The only relationship that I took an issue with was the one that Nikki had with her father. I'm not sure how/why he moved on from Nikki's mysterious absence so quickly. I'm not sure if he bought the drug addict story or if he was just so disconnected because of his campaign that he really only cared about himself.
Put Everneath in the list of paranormal books that I am comfortable recommending. It safely passes my checklist of things that are missing from other paranormal romances. High school students that actually study. Check. A normal, decent best friend. Check. A likeable love interest. Check. For those who are concerned about content issues, I'd feel comfortable recommending this book to teens 12 or older....more
Divergent deserves a round of applause for breathing some life into a genre that was beginning to wilt.
There were so many things I loved about this boDivergent deserves a round of applause for breathing some life into a genre that was beginning to wilt.
There were so many things I loved about this book. Right from the start we are introduced to a society that has created a system based on values, which seems like a great idea, right? As you read, you try to figure out which faction would best represent your values. Do you value courage, honesty, selflessness, or knowledge? Soon you discover, along with Tris, that it's not as clear as it first appears. Breaking rank from your family is dishonorable, and not all factions are considered equal. Even within factions there are tensions and disagreements about what they truly value. All of this together creates an internal and external conflict that is so complex and interesting, I couldn't put this book down.
Tris was a fantastic female lead. She has the grit and determination to be a warrior, but also a kind-hearted nature, whether or not she realizes it. The romance was not so unexpected for me, as I saw it coming from a mile away. No matter though, it was sweet and well-developed.
While the writing was not as well-crafted as the Hunger Games, meaning that there aren't any specific passages that I can look back on and think that they were beautifully written, the whole story flowed very nicely. I've found lately that some writers, in an attempt to convey urgency in their writing, end up making their plot disjointed and the pacing irregular. That definitely was not a problem in Divergent.
I am eagerly anticipating the release of the sequel, Insurgent, next year. And thanks to the lack of a cliffhanger ending, I'm not being bullied into reading it either. If you haven't read this one, definitely pick up a copy and prepare to be enthralled. ...more
*June 2012 UPDATE* The audio version is FANTASTIC!
I couldn't believe that this was a book by a debut author. I kept looking around, sure that she had*June 2012 UPDATE* The audio version is FANTASTIC!
I couldn't believe that this was a book by a debut author. I kept looking around, sure that she had other books out somewhere. The writing quality is amazing, and is reminiscent of a more experienced author.
The summary mentions a poetically minimal writing style. There are no quotation marks, and the words are spelled phonetically. This gives an element to the story that will turn some people off, and others will love it. I loved it. Which is saying something, because prose or different formatting will sometimes turn me off to a story. I didn't find the writing style distracting, but found it a very unique way to show a part of Saba's character. She is uneducated, but is very smart.
Saba's struggle is made evident early in the book as she searches for her brother after he is taken by cloaked horsemen. She doesn't know where to begin looking for him, and she's never ventured outside her home, but she shows remarkable courage in her determination to find him. No matter the cost.
That doesn't mean that Saba is without her faults. She despises her younger sister Emmi, and does not want her tagging along. However, throughout the book, their relationship develops, and Saba learns to forgive Emmi for many of the things that she (wrongfully) holds her responsible for.
With all of these inner conflicts, there are many external forces trying to rip Saba apart as well. I was absolutely glued to this book, and had to know how things worked out for Saba. Her journey is terrifying and romantic all at once. And, in reference to romance, be advised that our love interest is not introduced until much later in the story.
This is a title that I think many who love dystopian fiction will love. If the actual formatting on the page and spelling doesn't work for you, I'd suggest giving the audio book a try. I listened to the first couple chapters on Simon and Schuster's website, and the narrator is very good.
If you've read the book, let me know what you thought of it. Does prose bother you when reading a book?...more
Color me shocked, I loved this book. I don't love paranormal romance. I generally find it shallow and uninteresting and all about the romance. For theColor me shocked, I loved this book. I don't love paranormal romance. I generally find it shallow and uninteresting and all about the romance. For the first few chapters I thought, "Eh, this is the same old thing I've read a hundred times." Then, it all changed.
I don't want to give anything away, but the main character does something in this book around chapter 13 that had me doing some serious celebrating. Clara is a woman after my own heart. She understands her destiny and her purpose, but she doesn't allow herself to be trampled on.
I want to start this review off on a good note. So, this book had a beautiful cover. It represented and captured the story beautifully. The dark tonesI want to start this review off on a good note. So, this book had a beautiful cover. It represented and captured the story beautifully. The dark tones of the cover mimic the dark tones of the book. The moon half-covered reflects Claire's uncertainty of who she is and where she belongs.
Claire was a very typical teenage girl. Her interests are in boys, friends, fitting in, and trying to have a relationship with her mother. Beyond that, she really doesn't care about much else. But, I think this makes her a character that many teenage girls would relate to. Her relationship with Matthew progresses very naturally and was written very well. Unfortunately, that is the only relationship that held any water with me.
I didn't like the concept of only women being werewolves. Mostly because it makes no biological sense. Ana from The Book Smugglers mentioned this in her review, and I have to agree. If you have only female werewolves, but yet you must mate with male humans to produce babies, eventually the "werewolf" gene would become so diluted that they would cease to exist. Let me illustrate this:
Werewolf female + Human male = Male human (miscarries) or female werewolf (now having 1/2 human genes from her father).
1/2 werewolf female + human male = male human (miscarries) or 1/4 female werewolf
See where I'm going with this? Eventually they would have so few werewolf genes left that you would just have a girl that has to shave more often during the full moon. The only way they could reproduce with purity is to clone themselves, and then they'd all look exactly alike. Not something that would work out so well if you were trying to stay on the down low.
Aside from the biological impossibility of an only female species, the cultural aspects really got under my skin. Again, I agree with Ana from Book Smugglers on this. Why in the world must you keep your daughters in the dark about their identity? In the world that Christine Johnson created, everyone knows that werewolves exist, so there just really isn't a lot to lose. Instead you drop a bombshell on their 16th birthday informing them that they can't date or have real relationships with humans. Oh, but don't worry, having a "pack" that you've never met before and can't relate to will make up for it. In a sort of bizarre way, this reminds me of mothers not talking to their daughters about puberty and all the changes that take place during adolescence so as not to "scare them." As if leaving them to figure it out themselves would be a much better alternative.
All that aside, this was a very quick read that younger teens who love werewolves will probably enjoy. The book moves along at a very good pace, and had some redeeming moments. (Specifically the relationship that develops between Claire and her mother)....more
First off, there is one thing about me that you should know. I have terrible reading retention. I read so quickly that I often forget the finer detailFirst off, there is one thing about me that you should know. I have terrible reading retention. I read so quickly that I often forget the finer details about stories. Hence why this blog exists. Mostly as a reminder to me of the books I have read and how I felt about them. With that said, I should tell you that I had seen this book around on different blogs and for some reason kept thinking it was a paranormal romance. It is not. And every time I read the synopsis I thought, wow, this looks like a really good book.
And it was.
I have a checklist of questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not MISTWOOD is a good read for you:
* Do you like fantasy? * Do you like strong female characters? * Do you like romance in a book to be quietly in the background; giving flavor to the story like pepper on a very juicy steak? * Do you like not knowing what's going to happen in a book until it hits you right at the very end? * Do you like slower moving plots that set you up for a whirlwind ending? * Do you like chocolate?
Okay, ignore the last question. But, if you answered yes to most of those questions, it is a pretty safe bet you are going to like Mistwood.
Believe me when I say that every character was interesting. I've mentioned before that sometimes characters will blend together for me and I can't keep people straight. That was not a problem in this book. I think part of it was that there were fewer characters to keep straight, and each character had a very defined voice. So many of the passages in this book were beautifully written, and the dialogue flowed very well.
The plot of this book wound around like a windy road up a mountainside. For most of the story I really could not figure out where it was going to end up. And right when I thought I had Isabel pegged, she did something completely unexepected. I was unable to pull out all the stops and give this a five-star rating because sometimes Isabel was just a bit too wooden and inaccessible for my taste.
I really enjoyed this debut novel by Leah Cypess. It was wonderfully written, and I am positive she has a wonderful writing future ahead of her. Also, I wanted to tell you how incredibly nice Leah is. She is probably the nicest person I've never met. Anytime I ask for anything on my blog, she sends me an email right away volunteering in some way or another. And after speaking with Angie the other day, she informs me that Leah is as nice in person as she seems through my computer....more
When I first read the synopsis of the book, I thought, "Oh great, ANOTHER paranormal romance." Is anyone getting a little burned out by this recent trWhen I first read the synopsis of the book, I thought, "Oh great, ANOTHER paranormal romance." Is anyone getting a little burned out by this recent trend? Anyway, I am happy to report that there are no vampires, werewolves, or faeries in this story. Everyone is human.
The setting of this book was really beautifully done. Private school, creepy graveyards and mysterious secrets all made for a very good beginning. Time after time I was so happy to read that Persephone was just so normal. She studies, has friends that are girls, likes to listen to music, and is a generally likable person. Actually, from what I've read and seen of Anastasia Hopcus, she and Phe are very much alike. Anastasia, if you're reading this, would you agree?
Speaking of characters I liked, I was really surprised by how much I liked Adrianne, the preppy, spoiled rich girl. I was so impressed that Anastasia Hopcus was able to write a character that is so fundamentally unlikable and really make her likable. Did that make any sense? Adrianne is a character that walks a thin line of being loyal while still looking out for her own interests. Surprisingly complex for such an on-the-surface shallow character.
Unfortunately, I didn't like Zach. He was really one-dimensional and really didn't hold me interest. I think part of the problem was one of the first things he says to Phe is how dangerous he is and she should stay away. Lines like that make my eyes roll into the back of my head. But, as it turns out, he really isn't dangerous at all. He's really quite nice. On the other hand, Trent, his cousin, is a total jerk and every one should stay far away from him. In fact, a few times as I was reading I thought, "Gee, harassment much?" Phe needed to go to a teacher or counselor and talk about the way Trent was treating her....more